LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM
Our purpose is to help officers and their family members maintain good mental, physical and emotional health. Peer Support Officers/EAP reps are not counselors, but receive training to be impartial, caring listeners.
The Value of Peer Support Following a Critical Incident
An effective way for officers to deal with stress is through the support of other officers. Generally, police officers are hesitant to use outside counseling services following a traumatic event (Donnelly, Valentine, & Oehme, 2015). However, they are more likely to communicate with their peers about the incident. Therefore, it is important for agencies to have strong, formal peer-support programs in place.
During peer-support sessions, officers should be encouraged to discuss their role in the incident. In return, peer support officers should give supportive feedback that provides reassurances to the officer about their decisions. In addition to helping an officer process an event, peer communication is also an opportunity for a trained peer-support officer to identify whether an officer is struggling in a way that may require further intervention, either through time off or professional counseling.
Having access to peer support is an essential stress management strategy that gives officers the opportunity to reflect upon the incident and share their emotions with other officers who have experienced similar trauma. Such measures can both reduce the effect of strain over time as well as promote resiliency in the lives of officers.
Why Peer Support?
We are all brothers and sisters.
If you see someone struggling after a bad call or with a personal issue, encourage them to contact a Peer Support Officer, the ACCESS EAP office or the 24-hour hotline at 800-248-1688.